Choosing School Lockers
School Lockers, Old and New
Remember the “good old days” in school, when you’d run to your locker between classes, turn the combination lock, and lift up on the handle, only to discover that the handle mechanism was jammed and the door wouldn’t open? Or perhaps it did open but then wouldn’t close properly. How many classes were you late to because of locker issues?
Luckily for everyone, lockers today are made much more sturdily than the old-fashioned ones were. Lockers still play a big role in the everyday life of students. They can enhance the educational experience or add stress to the day. When designing a new school (or expanding or remodeling an existing one) you’ll eventually have to consider the choice of new lockers. There’s a lot to think about here, so let’s take a look at it.
What Type of Locker
The first consideration when buying new lockers is the purpose of the locker. What will it be used for and where will it be used within the school building? Different spaces may require different types or sizes of lockers. Hallway lockers are different than gym lockers, which are different than music room lockers. For example, gym lockers may be smaller than hallway lockers and will probably need better ventilation. It’s important to know the function and location of the lockers before making any choices about locker design.
Locker Layout and Design
Next, you’ll need to consider the actual storage space needed within the locker itself. Locker sizes are defined by tiers, meaning different levels are stacked vertically on top of one another. Lockers can be purchased in sizes of from one to six tiers. This means you can have anywhere between one and six lockers stacked vertically in one unit. A one-tier locker is tall and slender, and is ideal for the school hallway or classroom where students need to hang long coats and scarves during the winter. A two-tier locker works if students are hanging jackets or shorter items, or are storing books and papers. The more tiers you have, the smaller the actual storage space inside the locker so it’s important to know what will be contained in the lockers. It’s also important to keep in mind the height of the locker user. If the lockers are in an elementary school, fewer tiers are better because the students are shorter; the upper tiers in a five-tier stack would be inaccessible to them.
The next step in the process involves calculating the total number of lockers you’ll need for the space available. Lockers are sold in one-wide and three-wide configurations. You’ll need to determine the number of one-wide and three-wide units needed for the total available floor space. This can be tricky and the folks at the Hertz Design Center can help with this.
Handles come next. There are three main types of locker handles: recessed handles, door pull handles, and lift handles. All three can be padlocked by the user and each one has its own unique benefit. Recessed handles are good for security in areas where vandalism is a problem. This handle leaves nothing for a vandal to kick off, thereby securing the contents of the locker. The door pull handle is a friction catch handle which is very standard, and provides an easy way to attach a padlock. The lift handle provides the quickest access to contents of the three.
The last thing to consider when purchasing new lockers is locker accessories. Below is a list of accessories you may want to consider.
Legs — Lockers can be purchased with or without legs. Without legs, they sit flush on the floor. With legs, there’s open space between the locker and the floor. Keep in mind that if you purchase lockers with legs, the handle height and locker opening will go up by approximately six inches. This is important if your lockers will be used by young people.
Slope top panel — Lockers typically come with a flat top, which allows dust to accumulate and can be difficult for the maintenance crew to clean. The slope top panel facilitates much faster and easier cleaning.
Front and side bases — If you purchase lockers with legs, you might want to consider front and side base accessories. These panels enclose the space between the legs of the lockers on the front and side (at the end of a row of lockers). This prevents interesting stuff from accumulating underneath the lockers during the school day.
Purchasing the right lockers for your school can be tricky business. The folks at the Hertz Design Center can help you with all your locker questions and needs. They’ll help you choose lockers that look nice and provide the functionality you need. Give them a call or contact them via email and let them help. You and your students will be glad you did!